They shoot the ball a lot from the three-point line. They have one kid on their team that all season last year and through ten games this year has shot roughly 150 shots and 140 of them have been threes. So we have to go out and guard out there. And one of their big guys, that played against us last year, all 12 shots from three and he hit five of them. So John and Z are going to have to go out and guard him … Tony Shaver, who played here, had them on a good run last year. They've a difficult team to guard, they spread the floor, but it doesn't make a difference, we've got to go guard them. … We've got to do a better job defensively. We worked hard on it this afternoon.
How is Reggie Bullock(‘s knee) doing?
He is getting a little bit better. It's one of those things where I'm hopeful these 3-4 days off at Christmas time will help him, will help Tyler Zeller and John's thumb. Christmas break is coming at a good time for us.
What can you do to improve the perimeter shooting?
… Kendall and Dexter's shooting percentages aren't bad, Larry's not shooting it well, Harrison hasn't shot it well, Leslie has not shot it well except for two games where he was sensational. So last week we did three workouts were just running and shooting, getting some extra shooting in, and Thursday at the end of practice had extra shooting for those guys that were finished with exams. Trying to get some extra shooting in is about the only thing you can do, and then try to give the kids a little confidence, try not to put pressure on them where they think ‘I've got to make this shot.' To be a good shooter you have to have fluidity and not be tense.
What are some of the positives you took from the Texas game?
I grabbed Dexter Strickland and said something to him after the game. He was really a force for us offensively, pushing the ball down the court, he made a three, and challenged their defense – his best game of the year – and I told him now he's got to put these games together. … I thought he made better decisions, scored the ball, made some plays. And Kendall appears to be getting his game back. Starting out this season, the first three of four games, he was playing well, then we hit a stretch where he took a couple steps backwards, and then the last couple games he has played better and did some real nice things, taking the ball to the basket … I think he did some good things there.
According to the RPI, you've played the No. 2 strength of schedule in the country --
Well it feels like it. And that's great and all, but the problem is we need to win those games. It has been a difficult schedule, we've challenged the kids. ...
What do you see in practice and in the games that convinces you that Larry Drew should get the majority of the minutes over Kendall Marshall … I was wondering what your mindset is on the minutes distribution?
Basically, Larry deserves the minutes. He's played better. Coaches don't necessarily decides who plays, those kids do by how they play. Larry didn't play as well on Saturday and as I said earlier Kendall was closer earlier in the season, but then he was not as effective for three or four games, and now I think Kendall has started playing better. … I respect your question, but you don't see practice every day - our staff does see practice every day. At one point I thought it was closer, but then there was a stretch where Larry was playing significantly better than Kendall. … I guess the bottom line is I've coached about 800 games and I have to go with my gut feeling and what the heck I think and somebody who's not at practice every day doesn't know what the heck we're doing at practice.
On the development of the three freshmen -
There's a huge difference in this level and what the kid's played at in high school and Reggie, Harrison and Kendall have seen the game is faster, the players are bigger, stronger and quicker. … That's the biggest adjustment, the confidence that you could just beat your guy, and now with the athleticism of the other guys you can't necessarily do that.
Reggie's been hurt a bit with the knee problem and some other things that have really held him back. I've seen a little more from him – today was one of his best practices. I'm hopeful with the knee problem that he's able to get past that. We've tried to hold him out of some practice and do some things to try to help him get healthy but I think Reggie's going to start coming on and he'll get better and better as the year goes along.
Kendall, and we just talked about him, he started the season playing pretty doggone well and the difference between him and Larry was not that big. And then Kendall's play went down and Larry's play went up and the difference got bigger. I think (Saturday), Kendall did some really good things, whereas Larry against Long Beach State might have been the most important player in the second half. I think Kendall is going to get better and better and I'm pleased – he's going to be a big time player for us. .. I love him to death and I think if he plays well his minutes will go up.
With Harrison, I've never had a player with so much expectations, so much stress and so much buildup on a youngster. He's a marvelous young man and he's getting a little bit better as we go along. Stepping up to take that shot at the end up the game when we're down three – I just love the guys that don't back away from a big time shot. When I drew up the last play I got cold chills that the youngster was pleased that I was calling his name for that shot. Harrison is going to be fine …
I think all three of those kids as time goes along are going to be big time players for us -- and don't be surprised if they get more and more minutes if they play better.
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